Five steps to perfect CPD

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Maintaining your CPD is simple - follow the five steps to perfect CPD:

  1. Plan
  2. Do
  3. Record
  4. Reflect
  5. Submit

Plan

Planning your CPD starts by making an honest assessment of your current situation and determining your professional development goals for both the current year and the medium term e.g. next 2 to 3 years. Because the needs of each individual will vary, there can be no prescribed programme. It is for you to recognise your own needs and opportunities inside and outside the workplace and to take advantage of learning experiences in developing your own continuing professional development.

It is useful to ask yourshelf following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • How will I learn it?

The next step is to create a plan of action to achieve these goals. IFST myCPD system categorizes learning into different activities. Please find further guidance and examples of different Chartered Scientist  learning activities here. 

It is also possible to link you cpd- record  together with your Personal Development Plan (PDP).

Do

Now that you've planned your CPD, it's time to get out there and start developing!

It requires time management skills and motivation to get out there and attend some activities. This offers valuable returns, as it keeps you connected to the wider food science community and improves networking skills. As educational psychologists say, you learn more by networking than attending a course.

Please remember to reflect while 'on the go' it is easy to remember the key light bulb moments which often result in improvements and changes to the current practises.

Record

You've attended activities and events, now it's time to show for all the CPD you've done.

Now it is time to monitor and record your progress against your plan, including recording items that you may not have planned for such as training, learning and experience which nevertheless have contributed to your professional development. Having said that CPD is all about quality of the learning rather than quantity of the activities performed. CPD-recording should not be input focused (list of date and actions) but output focus (what are the benefits of learning).

IFST CPD categories all the learning and development for the 5 different learning activities. Be mindful that if you consider activity being CPD but it is actually part of your normal working day (routine) in most instances it doesn’t qualify as development (CPD).

Please start recording through IFST's myCPD online system. 

Reflect

Reflection is a most important part of the CPD reporting since it makes you think of the value of your work for yourself, your colleagues, clients, company and the wider community. If reflection is missing planning, doing, recording the activities stays separate and CPD becomes less beneficial and meaningful as a tool. 

It is useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I get out of this?
  • What have I learned?
  • How did I learn it?
  • How do I apply it in practise?
  • What is the resulting change?
  • Does this flag up any additional development which would be helpful for you to undertake?
  • What benefits will it have for your clients and/or your service?
  • How does this help to prepare for a new role?
     

This is the time for you to harness the value of what you have learned by bridging the gap between theory and practise. Getting this section of CPD writing correct is a key element of professionalism and successful career management.

Professionals who regularly record CPD and are good at reflecting what they have learned tend to become professionals who continuously drive for development and bring in new ideas, which benefits not only themselves but most importantly colleagues, their company and industry overall.

Submit

If you are part of a CPD-scheme you must be prepared to send your CPD-report for annual assessment or otherwise you may just record CPD independently. For those who are in the CPD-scheme will be contacted by IFST during the CPD-review time.

 

If you are new to CPD writing or would like further guidance related to any section above please don’t hesitate to contact Marjo Kiiveri for further information.